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WATCH: Lesbian Teacher Sues L.A. School District for Discrimination 

WATCH: Lesbian Teacher Sues L.A. School District for Discrimination 


A retired gym teacher claims she didn't feel safe at work and administrators blocked her from coming out.

Teacher Cathy Figel is suing the Los Angeles Unified School District for discriminating against her because she's a lesbian, reports Los Angeles TV station KCAL. She is suing for $12 million.

Figel retired this year after teaching physical education at Marina del Rey Middle School for 13 years. She says the LAUSD failed to provide her with a "working environment free from discrimination and harassment," according to KCAL. The lawsuit alleges Figel was "subjected to anti-gay language, anti-gay graffiti scrawled in her work area, verbal anti-gay slurs by students, vandalism to her car and even physical violence by a student."

Figel says she left her position when she couldn't tolerate antigay comments and vandalism any longer. She claims that school administrators ignored her repeated requests for help and told her to stay in the closet around students.

"I was supervising the locker room, and it was something to the effect of, you know, gotta watch, that lesbian is looking at us," Figel told the station. "I'm an adult, an authority figure. And I'm being exposed to it. What do you think is the occurrence that's happening to the children?"

"I'm not like, oh, this is my chance for something extra. But I don't want to wake up one day and find out a child's been harmed because nothing ever changed," she said.

The school district released a brief statement after news broke of Figel's lawsuit.

"The district is committed to ensuring a hostile-free work environment for all employees. The district does not agree with the allegations or characterization of its actions, and is, therefore, vigorously defending this lawsuit."

Watch below as KCAL reports on Figel's case.

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